Public Opinion on Energy Policy under the Trump Administration

The Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago and The AP-NORC Center conducted a national survey of 1,038 adults to explore Americans’ views on energy policy, climate change, and the Paris Agreement under the Trump administration.

Most Americans want the government to combat climate change, but many lack opinions on specific climate and energy policies, according to a new poll from the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC) and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

Beliefs about climate change have remained stable since 2016, with 72 percent of Americans saying climate change is happening, 9 percent saying it is not happening, and 19 percent who are unsure. Majorities of both Democrats and Republicans say climate change is happening, and many believers in both groups say it’s a problem the government should address.

Four in 10 oppose the use of fracking, while 17 percent are in favor. Another 35 percent neither favor nor oppose the practice. When presented with arguments in favor of fracking, support increases significantly, especially if it means a reduction in one’s natural gas bill. And when given environmental or health arguments in opposition to fracking, most Americans oppose the practice.

About a third of Americans lack opinions on the Keystone and Dakota Access Pipelines or the repeal of the Clean Power Plan. And while more Americans oppose withdrawal from the Paris Agreement than support it, 3 in 10 don’t have an opinion.

The nationwide poll was conducted August 17-21, 2017 using the AmeriSpeak® Panel, the probability-based panel of NORC at the University of Chicago. Online and telephone interviews using landlines and cell phones were conducted with 1,038 adults. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 4.1 percentage points.